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Rocket Attack Could Shake Israel-Egypt Security Ties

The rockets fired lately on the southern city of Eilat might force Israel to choose between the security of its citizens and keeping the peace accord with Egypt, writes Alon Ben David.
A triathlete runs out of the Red Sea during the Elite Men's Triathlon ETU European Championships in the southern Israeli city of Eilat April 21, 2012. Picture taken April 21, 2012. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun (ISRAEL - Tags: SPORT TRIATHLON TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) - RTR3BK4J

This week’s rocket fire on the city of Eilat (April 17), the seventh such occurrence, illustrated once again the vulnerability of Israel’s most southern tip. The ability to defend Eilat is limited: There are physical limitations for using the Iron Dome anti-missile defense battery. Additionally, the peace accord with Egypt prohibits Israel from scuttling terrorist activity originating from the Sinai Peninsula. As a result, Israel has to rely on Egypt to prevent fire from its territory despite the knowledge that even one single rocket could deal a lethal blow to the city’s tourist industry.

Its proximity to the borders of Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Egypt notwithstanding, the resort city of Eilat — the eternal land of the carefree, where the sun always shines — had been perceived by Israelis until recently as a haven of serenity and security. Operating almost uninterruptedly, the Sinai-based terrorist organizations have identified in recent years this Achilles’ heel. The two rockets that were fired this week from the Moon Valley area in Sinai were a stark reminder of how fragile security is and how the peace and quiet in Eilat can be easily broken. 

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